California handlers describe marketing issues for organic kiwifruit
California kiwifruit is one of several commodities with a federal marketing order covering both conventional and organic products. Organic kiwifruit handlers were asked for their views on marketing issues for organic kiwifruit and how they differ from those for conventional kiwifruit. Organically produced kiwifruit accounted for 6.1% of total 2001-2002 California kiwifruit production. There are several differences between organic and conventional kiwifruit. The average size of organic kiwifruit is smaller than conventional kiwifruit; sales tend to occur later in the marketing year; there are more intermediaries (middlemen) in the marketing channel; and a larger proportion of organic product is packed in smaller shipping containers. The traditional price premium for organic product is decreasing as organic production increases, and it is not unusual for organically produced kiwifruit to be sold as conventional fruit in conventional marketing channels. Product appearance is becoming more important to consumers of organic fruit, who are now less willing to pay premium prices for cosmetically challenged product.